n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Emotional challenges faced by nurses when taking care of children in a private hospital in South Africa

Volume 18 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Various studies have been conducted on children's experiences of hospitalisation. The experiences of nurses, however, have been neglected. Burn-out syndromeis common among nursing staff working with very sick children. The parents', children's and physicians' demands increase the nurses' workload and contribute to nurses experiencing intense emotions that may contribute to stress. This study explored the nurses' emotional challenges in order to improve quality care of children and working conditions of the nursing staff. An explorative descriptive and contextual research design, qualitative in nature, was used. Data were gathered by means of the nominal group technique. The sample comprised five nurses working in a paediatric ward in a private hospital. The main emotional challenge faced by nurses in the children's ward is to have job satisfaction despite stress, which may be overcome when committed nurses build a relationship of trust with the children they nurse. A further challenge is managing the diverse emotions they experience when taking care of the children. The participants explored solutions for the various emotional challenges they experienced. The findings suggest that the important solutions to the various challenges lie in child-centred nurses being passionate about caring for children, and unconditional commitment. Communication problems should be addressed during team-building events. In-service training will keep the nurses updated and enhance their clinical judgment, making them experts in their field.

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